Five years after Nintendo unveiled N64 at E3 1996, it was time to show off its successor: the amazing GameCube. Nintendo had kind of worked out this E3 business by then. In 1996, two games testers sat on the stage like bored teenagers and played Super Mario 64 in front of the games press but this time Nintendo flew in Shigeru Miyamoto who played Luigi's Mansion and Pikmin in front of whooping crowds.
We say Nintendo 'kind of' worked out how to do a conference because, dear lord, it was a bit boring to start with. Peter Main, executive Vice President of Sales & Marketing, was joined on stage by Satoru Iwata but it would be 15 minutes before Nintendo even showed off a game.
There was no autocue as Main read from a large notepad. In fact, the only entertainment value was from Main himself and his pronunciation of console. You would have thought that having worked for a videogames company for 14 years, he would have worked out that it's a console, not a council.
From there it was all good, apart from the bit where Iwata talked about 3D programming bottlenecks (snooze). He did, however, make some big statements about Nintendo. It was what he called the Nintendo Difference.
"We are responsible for the most popular games," said Iwata. "Today, Nintendo's first and second party development staff are by far the most developed and accomplished of anywhere in the world."
He continued: "Mario, Donkey Kong are names known around the world. If you want these stars you can not have them unless you own a Nintendo machine. We know more about what makes great games than anyone else. This is why Nintendo succeeds. This is the Nintendo difference. In our view we are only an entertainment company but we are working to become the best entertainment company anywhere."
Big words and there was more from Peter Main who introduced us to "what is unquestionably the best videogame council ever created."
Then on comes Miyamoto waving the GameCube as if he's a footballer showing off the World Cup to his adoring fans. You couldn't do that with an Xbox!
"Let me introduce you to our new baby," said the great man. "Like all babies it's small. It will make a lot of noise." Cue whoops.
But the whooping wasn't over. Far from it. Next, Bill Trinen joined Miyamoto on stage to show off Super Smash Bros Melee. This offers an insight on who are the most popular Nintendo characters as the volume of whoops change depending on who is on screen. This is how it went:
Mario: No whoops
Link: No whoops
Kirby and Pikachu: Laughter
Peach: Huge whoops and claps
Donkey Kong: No whoops
Samus: Whoops and even a few screams
Ice Climbers: No whoops, although they get a clap later on
Captain Falcon: No whoops
Kirby: No whoops
Pikachu: No whoops
Sheik: Respectful applause
Fox McCloud: No whoops
Ness: Little whoop from the hardcore
So there you have it. Samus Aran is the most popular Nintendo character.